The City that Never Sleeps
Do you have a website? If so, does anyone know it's exists, or how to find it even if they know you have one?
How many times have you asked yourself the above question? If the answer is either 'never' or 'not very often', then we need to talk!
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, a term which basically refers to making adjustments to your website so that when someone searches for 'Cookie Farts' in their favourite Google (also known as a Search Engine), your website appears before as many of the 12.3 million other websites (HOW MANY?!?) which discuss Cookie Farts to some degree. Of course, you might choose a word that is more relevant to your website / industry - in fact I highly recommend it - but you get the idea.
SEO is a term which is widely used when discussing websites, and most people know that SEO = Instant Website Success (IWS) and that where IWS is not achieved, a quick phone call to Google / Yahoo! / Bing (yes there is more than one search engine and there are actually more than these 3 as well!) should do the trick.
The fact is that there is no such thing as IWS, there is no phone number for any of the search engines and there are many factors involved in moving your website up the rankings for various keywords. THIS part of SEO is a lot more complex, and is not always so easy to understand.
Enter the Analogy...
While there is so much more to SEO than an IKEA instruction manual for a Volvo, I can't help thinking that a comparison between a town/city and your website goes a long way to explaining how it works in a language we can all understand.
Let's assume for a few minutes that your long lost uncle's brother's dog was the 'mayor' of a small country town called Betoota until he died and left you the keys. The only condition to accepting those keys is that you build it into a thriving modern city - with a current population of 0 that's quite a task!
The first thing you need is people. Lots of people. Afterall a city is nothing if it doesn't have people, so the next question is how do you get those people there, what makes them stay, what makes them tell their friends that it is a great place to be and encourages them to go there as well?
Know where you are going to be, how it will look, what it will do. This will be the cornerstone for every decision you make and for all the steps below.
A good city should have a structure that is well thought out and easy to navigate. When planning the structure of the city, it should be done from the viewpoint of the potential inhabitants. Who are they, what will they be looking for, what will make their life easier?
Facilities & Services
If you don't have relevant, attractive facilities and/or services, people will go elsewhere for them. But it's not just a case of having them. You could have a great shopping centre but if yours is 30 years old and you have made no changes to it, the brand new one down the road is going to be more attractive.
Point of Difference
Betoota has a population of 0 - except on Race Day. The annual event attracts thousands of people to it. For the local area, it is something different. A bit of research can highlight several areas where your city could do things differently.
Inhabitants want a say in what goes on. Afterall, they have to live there so by providing the platform for them to share their ideas and views, then taking the best of those on board, you will grow a happy population.
Small towns and large cities alike, can be a boring place if there is nowhere different for poeple to go. Build roads out to popular places or neighboring towns.
You want to attract people so you can grow your town into a city. If the roads to get their are long, difficult or confusing, it simply isn't going to happen. The more roads you have in, and the better those roads are, the more people you will see arriving.
Finally, you need a group of people who know what you have to offer, and know exactly how to offer it. They can do the research, advise on what people like, what people don't like. They know who your target market is - is it young families, older couples, etc - and they find creative ways to 'sell the sizzle'. They monitor the effect of the changes you make and keep up to date with the latest trends and interests.
Put all these things in place, and your town with a population of 0 will one day become that modern, bussling city.
The exact same steps can be applied to building your website from where it is today, into a modern, popular website. Think about it:
You need to know where you want your website to be. What will it DO? WHO will be using it? HOW will it be used?
Plan your website structure in a way which is easy for people to use - think about your target market, how will they expect things to appear, where will they expect things to be? Make sure your links are all clear and it isn't possible to get 'lost'.
Facilities & Services
What things could your website DO or PROVIDE to your target market that they would find relevant? The more relevant and useful something is, the more likely it is that people will share your website with others.
Point of Difference
What could you do that would set you apart from other similar websites? Perhaps you could have a calculator of some description, or a checklist which visitors could download. Think of relevant and interesting things that other people aren't providing and find a way to incorporate that with your website.
People love interaction, so give it to them. Provide a way for people to comment, add 'Tweet' and 'Like' buttons, share their experiences or photos. Get creative, there are lots of ways people can interact with your website and they will love your website for that reason.
Provide links to other websites that have useful information. The more links out (Outbound Links) to other websites you have, the more search engine love you will see...
This is an important one because it's one thing adding links to other websites, but other websites will only link to yours if they think it is worth doing so. For that reason, the more links (Inbound Links) you have TO your website, the easier it will be for search engines to decide how relevant your website is for various keywords and phrases.
Finally, you need a group of people who understand your vision, understand your market and know how to get your website there. That tourism association is US.
We have the tools, experience and know-how to get your website on the map, to advise you on the changes required and to monitor the effect of changes to your website on the visitors you get.
Contact us and let us help you to grow your website into the CITY THAT NEVER SLEEPS...